At this time of year, three words echo repeatedly around the Delta County Libraries -- these three words are at once a cheer, an invitation, a challenge and a promise of great enjoyment. The words are "summer reading program" and they apply to residents of all ages from every part of the county.
In general, libraries promote summer reading to motivate students to keep reading during their time off from school. Delta Library manager Adriana Chavira explains, "I have spoken to different teachers over the years and what comes up in every conversation is how in the beginning of the school year teachers have to spend time on getting students back to their reading level. This happens when children do not read during the summer, losing their reading momentum or, as many researchers and teachers call it, 'the reading slide.' "
Delta County Libraries staff hopes that the promise of book giveaways, paired with a great variety of fun programs in the libraries, will entice everyone to read more, including parents reading to young children, teenagers exploring e-books, or adults listening to audiobooks on road trips. In addition, library programs offer kids, teens and adults venues to stay safe, cool, entertained and, in the case of teenage participants, well-fed, for a good portion of summer vacation.
While summer reading themes vary according to age level, this year they all focus on health and fitness, and Delta County Libraries staff members have planned events accordingly. The children's program is "On Your Mark, Get Set, READ," and the libraries will offer a wide variety of weekly events which encourage movement, from races to balls to water balloons. The kickoff event, taking place June 7-9, will feature a professional hula hooper, Jaecey Adams. Adams will visit every library with her great store of hula hoops to demonstrate her amazing talent, help kids learn some hula moves, and talk about the benefits of physical activity.
The teen theme is "Get in the Game READ." Teens and tweens are invited to visit the libraries for weekly events such as a library olympics, wilderness skills classes, human foosball, cooking classes, storytelling, scavenger hunts and more.
Both teen and adult participants can look forward to a pedometer challenge in early June, where staff members throughout the library district will challenge library users to see which group takes more steps per person.
This year's theme for adults is "Exercise your Mind, READ." Adult programming will vary by library, and library staff really want to boost reading and participation among that population as well as children and teens.
"Our entire staff is really enthusiastic about the summer reading program," says district director Lea Hart. "We have so many exciting events planned, surprises up our sleeves and great books for prizes. None of this would be possible without the generosity of the more than 60 businesses, individuals and library support groups who did not hesitate to respond to our request for donations toward the program."
Library staff understands that it can be difficult to get into the library right away to sign up for summer reading. For those readers eager to start counting hours, online registration forms will be available after school on May 20. Actual events will run from June 6-July 30. Registration forms, calendars and other information can be found on the library district website at www.delta
Hart encourages, "Now is the time for our patrons to lace up their running shoes, grab their bikes, water bottles, bats and other gear, and head for the nearest library to find a good book."